Foreign citizens currently can visit Far Eastern Federal District, Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad regions based on e-visa regime, starting 2021 an e-visa service shall be available for all the territory of the Russian Federation.
Obtaining an ordinary visa (stamp in a passport) is a complicated and exhausting process. One must apply a visa invitation, fill in the visa application, take a personal photo, make copies of the required documents and submit the application at the consular department office or a diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation to request a visa to Russia. It’s all a similar procedure for obtaining a Russian visa to go on vacation, come on a business trip or visit a friend. A visa to Russia may be quite expensive and time-consuming to obtain.
Some Russian cities are welcoming foreign citizens on e-visas already. This article will tell you who can apply for an e-visa to Russia and how to obtain it.
Click to enlarge
An e-visa is being issued online unlike an ordinary visa that is a “paper” stamp in a passport. One neither needs to go anywhere to obtain an e-visa nor print it out on paper. A digital copy of an e-visa can be saved on your smartphone and presented over the screen upon arrival in Russia.
An e-visa can be of the following types: tourist, business, cultural relations, sports relations and scientific-technical relations.
The e-visa was first introduced in 2017 to visit the cities of the Far Eastern Federal District. Afterwards, a visa-free entry was granted to FIFA World Cup fans based on Fan ID documents in 2018.
July 1st, 2019 an e-visa system was put into practice in Kaliningrad region and on October 1st launched in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad oblast.
By 2021 an e-visa system shall be available for all the territory of the Russian Federation.
Saint Petersburg and Leningrad oblast
Citizens of 53 foreign states can enter Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad oblast region on an e-visa: Austria, Andorra, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Vatican, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Qatar, Cyprus, China (including Taiwan), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Philippines, Finland, France.
Around 20,000 (twenty thousand) foreign nationals applied for an e-visa to Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad oblast within the first 3 weeks after an e-visa to the region had been introduced. Saint Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development reported that some citizens were from the Philippines and Islamic Republic of Iran but most of them were the citizens of the EU countries particularly neighboring countries: Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, Sweden that can easily reach the Northern capital of Russia by ferry or by car.
Important to know!
- Foreign travelers can enter Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad oblast region on an e-visa by any means of transport but rail transport. The checkpoints of Saint Petersburg are available through air, naval, automobile. Another naval checkpoint is located in seaport Vysotsk near Vyborg city. Also there’s a pedestrian checkpoints located in Ivangorod near Narva, Estonia.
- Foreign travelers can enter Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad oblast region on an e-visa but cannot proceed to a different city, for example, to Pskov or Moscow. Foreign travelers have the right to freedom of movement only within the territory of Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad oblast region they entered on an e-visa.
Citizens of the same 53 foreign states can enter Kaliningrad region on an e-visa: Austria, Andorra, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Vatican, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Qatar, Cyprus, China (including Taiwan), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Philippines, Finland, France.
Citizens of the neighboring countries: Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland travel to Kaliningrad region more frequently than others.
Foreign travelers can enter Kaliningrad region on an e-visa by any means of transport, the checkpoints are available through air (Khrabrovo airport in Kaliningrad), naval (Kaliningrad, Baltiysk or Svetly), automobile (Bagrationovsk, Gusev, Gzhekhotki and Gronovo in Mamonovo, Morskoye, Pogranichnyy, Sovetsk, Chernyshevskoye) and railway (Mamonovo and Sovetsk).
Important to know!
- Foreign travelers who enter Kaliningrad region on an e-visa can stay only within the territory of Kaliningrad region.
Far Eastern Federal district
Citizens of 18 foreign states can enter Far Eastern Federal district on an e-visa: Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, India, Iran, Qatar, China, DPRK, Kuwait, Morocco, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey, Japan. Around 160,000 (one hundred sixty thousand) foreign nationals have applied for an e-visa to Far Eastern Federal district during 2 years. The majority of foreign citizens are from China, Japan and India.
Unlike Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad oblast and Kaliningrad regions, holders of an e-visa to Far Eastern Federal district have more freedom of movement. Foreign travelers can enter the region through any of the available airport checkpoints in Vladivostok (Knevichy), Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Khomutovo), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Yelizovo), Ulan-Ude (Mukhino), Anadyr (Ugolny), Chita (Kadala), Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk (Novyy). An e-visa is also available for cruise travelers for entry through the naval checkpoints in Vladivostok, Zarubino and Posyet in Primorsky Krai, Korsakov on Sakhalin, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Foreign citizens travelling to Russia by train can also enter on an e-visa through the railway checkpoints Makhalino, Pogranichny and Khasan. And, foreign travelers coming by car or by bus can enter on an e-visa through the automobile checkpoints Poltavka and Turiy Rog.
An e-visa to Russia is issued free of charge for now. Important to know about an e-visa to Russia:
- An e-visa must be requested no earlier than 20 calendar days and no later than 4 calendar days before the intended date of entry into the Russian Federation. An e-visa system is available 24/7 regardless of weekends and official holidays. For example: a Spanish citizen is planning to come to Saint Petersburg for New Year celebration, so he purchases a flight ticket for arrival on December 28th, that way he needs to submit an e-visa request on December 23rd the latest. An e-visa application request is being reviewed for 4 calendar days max, even if an applicant submits an e-visa request beforehand.
- The validity period of an e-visa is 30 days starting from the date of issue. The permitted stay in Russia on an e-visa is up to 8 days from the date of entry within its validity period. The validity period and/ or permitted stay on an e-visa cannot be extended.
- An e-visa can be only single-entry.
- Passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you applied for an E-visa. Your passport must have free space for border crossing stamps.
- Neither a visa invitation nor a hotel booking confirmation or any other document confirming the purpose of travel to the Russian Federation is required for obtaining an e-visa.
- An e-visa document will be received by email or can be downloaded on the website. There’s no need to print out an e-visa documents, the digital copy of it can be saved on your smartphone.
- Foreign travelers arriving on e-visas are required to have a medical insurance valid for the entire period of stay and cover the territory of the Russian Federation.
- An e-visa application must be submitted on the website of Consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation or you can use our “E-visa to Russia” service to obtain an e-visa to Russia use.
Get E-visa to Russia Цена €10.00
Starting January 1st, 2021 an e-visa service shall be available for all the territory of the Russian Federation.